Environmentally friendly people are healthier and happier than people that aren't green, according to one study. 76% of parents say they try to be as eco-friendly as possible because of their children. The best way to do this is to start from their birth. But how do you parent a baby in an eco-friendly way?
Green, clean feeding
One of the best things you can do for your baby and the environment is breastfeeding. Research from the Imperial College London shows that breastfeeding for six months can save up to 153 kg of CO2 emissions, compared to formula feeding. This is because formula feeding involves lots of resources, including hot and cold water, plastic bottles, teats, sterilizer, and cleaning solutions. When the time comes to wean your baby, avoid shop-bought purees. Pouches can't be recycled and a lot of resources are needed to make baby food. Make your own green food instead of using seasonal produce. Avoid fruit and veg wrapped in plastic and buy from your local market. It's also worth batch cooking and freezing what you make to reduce waste.
Invest in cloth diapers
The average child goes through 7,000 diapers in the first few years of their life. Single-use diapers can't be recycled as they contain plastic. Instead, they end up in landfills where they take between 250 and 500 years to decompose. They also create harmful greenhouse emissions. The Environmental Agency estimates that the diapers just one child uses create 550 kg of carbon emissions. An environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable diapers is reusable cloth ones. Cloth diapers are washable, so they can be used over and over again. They're better for the environment as they use 3 and a half times less energy and fewer renewable resources than single-use diapers. Look out for cloth diapers that are ethically made in a local factory as this keeps the carbon footprint of the diapers down too.
Second-hand is best
The average parent spends $50 per month on baby clothes, according to New York Life. Babies usually spend no longer than 10 weeks in one size of clothing, so it's best to buy second-hand. This is good for the environment as it stops clothing from going to landfills. It also reduces pollution as when you buy second-hand baby clothing fewer new items need to be made. This means less manufacturing and transportation needs to take place. You also save water and energy. Water is needed to produce cotton-based items of clothing, while a lot of energy is used to ship items to their final destination. It's not just clothes you can buy used to help the environment either. Nursery furniture, pushchairs, and toys are all safe for little ones when they're in a used but good condition.
Introducing your baby to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle from the moment they are born is the best way forward. They'll soon learn that it's best to be green and will carry this with them throughout their life.